Photography by Amedeo Novelli
Trying to understand Trump's America in less than twenty days is almost impossible but a trip through five East Coast states can certainly help you better decode what is really happening on the other side of the ocean and, above all, because
United States and Italy are separated, not only by the Atlantic Ocean, but also by profound social, economic, historical and cultural differences. Yet, perhaps due to the effect of the global economic crisis, what happened in the shadow of the skyscrapers of New York is not so different from what happened near the Colosseum in Rome.
My journey began in the Big apple, capital of the world financial economy. Biggest cities such as London, Paris, Berlin or Milan, as well as New York, are not the mirror through which to understand the American vote. Is a matter of fact that this extraordinary "melting pot" has shown to have rather robust antibodies against the populist propaganda at the base of the concept of America first that brought Trump to the White House. Here the tycoon has not broken through, nor in Manhattan, where it has always resided, nor in the poorest areas inhabited by "latinos" and "blacks" such as the Bushwick neighborhoods in Brooklyn or Queens.
Just drive a few miles inland to realize that New York is much more distant than actually reported by the navigator. Going towards Philadelphia, I cross industrial areas that show signs of economic crisis, just like the faces of the people I met. They are mainly exponents of the middle class that felt betrayed by a political class accused of having prematurely lowered the curtain on their "American dream". They are the same ones who today applaud Trump's propaganda, which continues to offer, at least in words, a perspective of social and economic redemption, relying on simple but effective concepts such as national pride.
If Philadelphia is undoubtedly the most interesting laboratory of an America so far away from the model proposed by the new President, just go a little further south, up to Baltimore, to find a situation of opposite sign, characterized by a much higher unemployment rate, accompanied by widespread social hardship and where Trump did not break through probably more due to the fear generated by his positions on immigrants than by people adherence to Clinton's proposals. Even in Maryland, such as Pennsylvania, Delaware or New Jersey, if you leave highways and big cities, moving to small counties, things change very fast and you discover a different America.
In the beautiful natural landscape of these territories, where the isolation is not only physical, but mostly cultural, people wants a stronger America, the same well summarized by the slogan "Let's make America great again". It doesn't matter if it means to disrupt that global vision of the world on which the United States has gradually strengthened its political and economic hegemony from the post-war period to today. The echo of the Russian gate in the province sounds as a faint background noise, easily labeled as a conspiracy or fake news and does not move an inch the thought of those who believe in President's idea of a stronger America. As in Italy, even in the States, Trump's victory is based on the blindness of his opponents who have not been able to read in time the dissatisfaction of these americans that felt abandoned and without any reference point. A tragic political mistake that voters have decided to punish. Unlike ours, American democracy has a very long history and the upcoming mid-term elections will help us to understand if after two years of Trump, the orientation of the electorate has remained the same or if it has already changed. All that remains is to wait for the next month of November, aware that what happens beyond the ocean determines and influences very much the whole world, including Europe.
Amedeo Novelli - www.amedeonovelli.com
Camera: Sony Alpha 9 and Sony RX1-R2